Tag Archives: David Cross

Have A Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics

IMDB would have you believe that mixing comedy with a thorough investigation of psychedelics, ‘Have a Good Trip’ explores the pros, cons, science, history, future, pop cultural impact, and cosmic possibilities of hallucinogens. But that’s a bold-faced lie. You want to know how little science there is? The scientist is played by Nick Offerman, that’s how. Have A Good Trip is a terrible way to learn about psychedelics academically, but a pretty entertaining way to learn about psychedelics anecdotally.

Several first-rate story-tellers, mostly comedians (as theirs is the only career path that couldn’t be negatively impacted by admitting this on tape), offer up fun tidbits from past trips. Lewis Black, Sarah Silverman, Nick Kroll, Rob Corddry, David Cross, Will Forte, Paul Scheer, Marc Maron…this list goes on for quite some time, so perhaps I’ll let you be delighted with the surprise of so many familiar faces (and just fyi, a couple of recently departed ones – Carrie Fisher and Anthony Bourdain).

Acid trips are like dreams (as I write this I realize this is true in more ways than one): nobody wants to hear about yours. And even from the mouths of our favourite funny people, sometimes accompanied by clever little animations, or less clever reenactments, most of these takes still land in the awkward category of “you had to be there.” Acid trips are not movies. They do not have plots or characters or crucially, a point. Of course, neither does this movie, which again, IMDB has generously categorized as a “documentary” but actually feels more like someone’s answering machine after they spent a weekend at work while all their buddies went to the desert to munch through a bag of mushrooms.

If you’re predisposed to liking the comedians involved, it’s not such much “worth your time” as “a semi-entertaining time waster” – bonus points if you’re 35-45, because the drug references are pretty dated.

Sorry To Bother You

Well.

I hardly know how to talk about a movie like this.

It’s radical.

Ostensibly it’s about “telemarketing” but that’s like saying Toy Story is about single parenting. It’s really about racism and assimilation and wage slavery and identity – by way of telemarketing, at least to start.

Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is thrilled to get a shitty telemarketing job, working for commission. There’s almost no way to actually succeed doing this kind of work, but Cassius stumbles upon the secret, magic key: a white voice. A persuasive, approachable, overconfident voice, like Tobias Funke’s, perhaps. Using this voice, Cassius shoots straight to the top, rocketing past his buddies and even his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa MV5BMzNjZTZlZmYtODU0ZS00NzFkLTkyZGEtOTI5M2Q0YTZmNzg3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDg2MjUxNjM@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_Thompson) who are trying to organize a union that will help the little guys make a living wage too.

On top, Cassius is of course hypnotized by the wealth and privilege, but now that he’s rubbing elbows with “the man”, he’s finding it’s a little different than he’d imagined. “The man” is of course Armie Hammer, like you ever fucking doubted it. Hammer was literally born to be typecast as a slave owner – his great-grandfather was a legit oil tycoon and philanthropist, and the family is worth somewhere in the neighbourhood of $200M. So yeah, he’s got owning slaves in his blood, and we can all read it in his cheekbones. In Sorry To Bother You, he plays a CEO who is “saving the world” by enslaving all the poor people and making them thank him for it. Signing a contract, they agree to work wage-free for him forever in exchange for housing (which looks surprisingly like prison cells minus the bars but with double the roommates) and food.

And everything is just gently pushing you. Pushing your boundaries, almost imperceptibly. In the beginning, things are near normal but they escalate, asking us to accept just one more inch of absurdity. It is THE best kind of satire, uncompromising but plenty challenging.

First-time writer-director Boots Riley has made a film that is gutsy and experimental. It feels like this is a guy who isn’t sure he’ll ever get to do this again, so he’s not leaving a single idea on the table. He takes huge risks and when they pay off, hot damn. Sorry To Bother you zigs and zags in unexpected places but the super talented cast helps this thing stay grounded.┬áRiley is full of piss and vinegar and a comic outrage that’s infection. This is bold stuff, exciting to watch, fearless, outrageous, and I want more. Not for the faint of heart.